Story and photo gallery by STEVE HARRISON
Emma Carlton doesn’t start for the Avoca-Prattsburgh girls’ basketball team. But each game this season, she’s been a big part of the victories.
On Tuesday night, she had four points after three quarters during a game which looked like an easy victory until Canisteo-Greenwood stormed back from down double-digits before a packed crowd at the Steuben County Championship final.
One of the hardest, and least worked on shots in basketball is the mid-range jumper. With less than 2 seconds on the clock, Carlton drained a mid-range jumper near the foul line in a gym where you couldn’t hear yourself think, to lead A-P to a thrilling 48-47 win.
From the baseline with the camera, here is how Steve Harrison saw the contest:
The final game for the 2022 Girls Steuben County League pitted the #1 seed Canisteo-Greenwood against #3 seeded Avoca-Prattsburgh in Canisteo Tuesday evening.
From the opening tip A-P looked to use their height by winning the toss and quickly hitting a three from the top of the arc to take a quick 3 point lead. After the made basketball A-P set up a full court press that was one of the most dominating presses displayed this season, which created turn overs and easy buckets in the first quarter taking a 10-point lead 17-7 after the first.
The A-P coaching staff decided since it wasn’t broke, why try and fix it? They left the press on and built a 13-point lead in the second quarter with one of the toughest in your face defenses in Section V led by Kamryn Edwards and Riley Stowe.
With their height, C-G just couldn’t seem to get the ball flowing as they had all season long that enabled them to sweep the county with an unblemished record.
But as all games go its never over until the final horn. C-G scrapped their way out of the early deficit and only trailed by a bucket 21-23 at the half.
With a game change at half time CG decided to start driving to the basket and attempt to create some foul trouble for AP. As both team battled throughout the 3rd period as point guard Marissa Reid lead all scores in the third period with six points. Able to stretch out the lead slightly in the quarter Ap was able to increase the lead to 7 with a 37-30 lead.
With the stands packed and the students sections ready for the finally both teams showed why they were in the championship game Tuesday night. Having lead all the way since the opening tip won by AP’s Kamryn Edwards, CG team leader sophomore Lillian Mullen took the team on her shoulders to bring her team back in the last stance.
Fighting back all game finally with 1:22 seconds left in the game Lillian Mullen found a breaking Brooke Burd up the court for a bucket and some harm and hitting the foul shot to take the lead for the first time in the game.
A-P finding themselves down by 3 after Mullen hit 1-of-2 shots from the free throw line, Avoca-Prattsburgh called a time out to advance the ball to half court and set up a play for one of their team leaders.
With a side out AP inbounds the ball to Stowe 3 feet past the top the key and the senior calmly banks in a 3 to tie the game with 17.3 seconds on the clock. CG has a chance to go the length of the court and get the final shot off, Bailey Mullen takes a pass from her sister and is fouled from behind with 13 seconds remaining. Mullen hits the front end of the pair from the line and ball falls short and a scrum ensues for the loose ball that ends up in the hands of CG but was called for a traveling violation to give the ball back to AP trailing by 1 with 11 seconds remaining.
What seemed like hours looking for an open shot as CG played tough defense on the 4th pass with 3 seconds left Marissa Reid finds a wide open Emma Carlton just past the free throw line and calmly hits the bucket to take the lead with 3 seconds to go in the championship. With a last second heave by Mullen falling short, Avoca-Prattsburgh were crowned CHAMPIONS.
Both teams now prepare for the greatest spectacular event of the winter in high school sports SECTIONALS.
Canisteo-Greenwood caps off a 15-5 record to secure the number 2 seed in class C1 while Avoca Prattsburgh finishes with 14-6 record and gets the 4th seed in class D2.
Lillian Mullen finished with 17 points for C-G while Bailey Mullen had 12, Brooke Burd had 12 and Hailey Davis had six.
For A-P, Riley Stowe had 12, Marissa Reed had 11, Kendra Pinkney had 7 while Emma Carlton, Kamryn Edwards and Laura Morera each had six.